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Fickle Friday’s and Fun Festivals

Today is the start of a number of festivals, the Rickard’s BBQ festival, the Vintage Car festival, the Street Music festival, and also the opening of our new, covered, Grand Marché selling regional and seasonal products. You know the stuff, cheese and meats that make your mouth water, artisan-made breads and pastries, fresh fruit and veg from the region, and all things arty and edible.

So, of course, it’s raining. And I mean, peeing down in a steady, dull soaking wetness I think you get the picture.

And we’re due rain for, get it, the entire three days of these festivals. It never fails. You can almost guarantee wet weather will mess up the start of the summer festivals. It’s almost a given.

We were especially looking forward to a day out at both the BBQ fest and then, the vintage car fest, in which over a 1000 vintage cars will be on view—and there’s usually a lot of food and drink to go with this festival too, situated in one of the most picturesque spots in and around Québec City: the Montmorency Falls, with its stunning views looking out over the city, the river and the south shore.

The BBQ festival is on the new and improved festival site right next to where the new marché will be, which is kind of convenient fun. This whole weekend was shaping up to be one long indulgent food and drink extravaganza. Fiddlesticks!

I guess we could always wear our wellies, raincoats, and carry an umbrella but, you know, it’s not the same, is it? After all, this is the start of summer. Or, it’s supposed to be.

We’re all hoping the rain will have stopped by this evening as the festival site is open till 11pm tonight. We can but hope, right?

Best Coffee Shops

There’s coffee, and then, there’s coffee. To me, there’s a huge difference in what a mall chain of coffee shops serves as coffee, and what you can get in a cafe who specialises in serving you coffee made from beans they’ve roasted and ground themselves. But, if your taste runs to Starbucks or familiar chains, go right ahead. If, like me, you prefer ground coffee, here’s a list of my local favourites.

Les Cafe du Soleil
143 Rue Saint-Paul, Québec, QC G1K 3V8
(418) 692-1147
A tiny hole in the wall cafe with an excellent range of to order coffee and snacks.

Cafe La Maison Smith
23 Rue Notre-Dame, Québec, QC G1K 4E9
(581) 742-6777
La Maison Smith now has five cafes dotted about the city serving great coffee, cold drinks and delicious snacks. Try their pink lemonade for something different, during summer.

Cafe Castelo
807 Avenue Cartier, Québec, QC G1R 2R8
(418) 523-9785
Situated at the bottom end of rue Cartier, this coffee specialist has a large selection of coffee served up with a built-in art gallery.

Cantook Micro Torréfaction
575 rue Saint-Jean, Québec, QC G1R 1P5
(418) 529-4769
Smell the beans being roasted as you sit and watch the barista brew a coffee just for you. Great coffee and just as great an atmosphere!

Nektar Caféologue
235 rue Saint-Joseph Est, Québec, QC G1K 3B1
(418) 977-9236
Another expanding roaster offering their own blends in three locations, who open early and who close late. Always good to know.

June in Québec City

June is already upon us, so here’s what not to miss while you’re here. Check out the calendar of events and festivals, below.

The National Assembly had been under renovation for a while, and now the new addition is complete, will be open for free for tours on June 1 and 2.

The Grand Marché of Québec produce, likewise, will be opening to the public the weekend of June 14 to 16, at its permanent new venue, which will be accessible year-round. Check out its new website (above) for times.

Of course, June also sees the annual Féte National held every year, come rain or shine, for free, on the Plains of Abraham. Check out the great bands and fireworks.

Québec City’s Town Hall sees a weekend of fun and celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of twining with the Belgium city of Namur. Don’t miss out on sampling some Belgian chocolate.

So don’t miss, and mark these dates in your calendar!

A Walk In The Park

The weather has gone from minus 10 and storms to sunshine and plus 17 this weekend, so today, as they said it was going to get upwards of 20 degrees, I grabbed my camera and went for a walk in out local park. The Bois de Coulonge, which roughly translates as the Coulonge woods!

It’s literally ten minutes around the corner from where I live, and with the sun beckoning me outside, I went out in search of flowers.

Well, I didn’t find many flowers but I did find the lodge (home) of the exceedingly rare lesser brown ground beaver. Alas, there was no sighting of the very shy creature, itself. But then, that’s only to be expected.

Spring in the Park

Well, it might already be spring elsewhere around the world, but here in Québec City, we’re still lingering in winter. There’s still some snow on the ground, the temp is hovering around 4 degrees—going up from minus 4 first thing this morning. And flower that everyone else saw in February or March are only now just poking their head up above ground.

It’s been a long hard winter up here, in the Frozen North. And the Jardin Botanique Roger-Van den Hende, at the University Laval, look a bit bleak. But I’m sure, in a matter of days, with some warm sunshine, it will all change. And everything will turn green again.

Click on the images to see the full-size photos.

A Maple Easter

We finally got out to take our long awaited walk in the Old Quarter, down by the marina, ending at the Food Market. Specifically to check out the Maple Sugar products and found … a sugar shack inside too!

While we stocked up on maple syrup produces for friends and family, we learnt that the old market will be closing June 2. A new and improved version is opening way across town, at the Le Grand Marché! It looks stunning and I can’t wait to check it out in June.

Opening JUNE 14-16

Monday to Friday: from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Le Grand Marché de Québec
250, boulevard Wilfrid-Hamel